“I hope she be ok and learn from this bad experience”
Victim blaming is the beginning of a domino effect. First, when victims are blamed, shamed or turned away by their peers, family, police or even their rapist, they are hesitant to file a report and go through with a trial and trying their rapist. This resistance then causes the rapist to get away with the rape, and more people think that the consequences for rape are morphed. They may face legal punishment but are still supported by their community, or they may not even be sentenced at all. Either way, the blaming and absence of justice leaves the victim battered and often unable to heal emotionally.
The cause of rapists’ success is essentially rooted in victim blaming. It’s been this way since around 1670 when the English judge Sir Matthew Hale wrote that husbands cannot be guilty of rape because through their “matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.” Therefore, the wife is at fault because her husband owns her right to want to have sex. So, a woman’s husband got away with raping her because she was the one who gave him her rights.
The severity of victim blaming has escalated and progressed over the years. There are different ways to blame a victim, and one of those is to slut shame. Slut shaming is criticizing someone’s sexual activity through condemnation of one’s behavior, appearance, values, culture, or life choices. For example, in Chicago in December 2012, three teenage boys raped a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint. When it was revealed that the rapists were going to be tried as adults, people felt the need to take to social media to share their opinions on the situation. People slut shamed the young girl by saying horrible things like; “just a loose drunk slut,” “Something she never should have done. A 12 year old girl shouldn’t be associating with 16 year old teenage boy. Some girls are advanced at this age and she should have known what he wanted her to do when he invited her to his home. No doubt she didn’t expect his friends to be there. I hope she be ok and learn from this bad experience,” and “SHOULD BE AWARE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS regardless how drunk u are.” These people sincerely believe that this young girl is at fault for being raped because of her decisions and behavior. Because of these illogical claims made to shame the young girl, more she is told that this tragedy is her fault. Even though she is not even old enough to consent and even though she was raped at gunpoint, she is guilty. This shaming will continue. Others who read the claims will realize that the perpetrators receive the support while the victim is condemned. Therefore, the domino effect prevails: victims are blamed, rapists are endorsed in some aspect of society, and victims are left in the dust without closure, leaving future victims hesitant to go through with legal actions of their own.
Not all the types of victim blaming are easy to identify, either. An example of this is a monologue about a man who was raped by his female teacher when he was a child. He says, “All the guys would laugh at me about it, calling me faggot for not enjoying it and I was like, ‘psych, I totally did enjoy it.’ Then they high-fived me and told me I was cool and that Ms. Tupper was hot and they were jealous.” Here, the perpetrators of the blaming are “all the guys.” They shamed him because he did not find being molested as a pleasurable experience. This caused him, as the victim, to adapt to their ideals by not taking his rape seriously. And because he did not accept this as a traumatic experience, he is unable to emotionally heal. He proves by saying, “It was the most popular I’d been in my whole life. It was the happiest I’ve ever been. And I wasn’t happy, but sometimes as a guy, if you want to fit in you have to hide your pain and humor is a great way of doing that and that’s why I sincerely think that rape is hilarious. Because I have to.” He does not confront the candidness of what happened to him in order to prevent the weight of the tragedy tear him apart. Instead, he treats it like a joke because that is what he was shamed to do.
Eichelberger, Erica. “Men Defining Rape: A History.” Mother Jones. 27 August 2012. Web. 2 November 2015.
“A Guy Talks About Rape From A Man’s Perspective. (And It’s Not What You Think, Either.)” Upworthy. 14 April 2014. Web. 2 November 2015.
New source: Turner, Natasha. “Rape-splaining: 10 Examples of Victim Blaming.” Ms. Magazine. 28 May 2013. Web. 2 November 2015.